So a trainer at the Bonnie Doon Football Club was fired because he came out as being bisexual.
Then, ex-Premier, wannabe-Mayor and head of Beyond Blue, Jeff Kennett said that was a good thing. Because having a bisexual work as a football coach was like having a pedophile working as a masseur at the club.
I'm sorry? Let's have that again:
It was like having a pedophile working as a masseur at the club.
You'd be forgiven for not knowing this, given that it was reported quietly in the Herald Sun, but not in The Age or The Australian at all.
If the head of an organisation that helps people struggling with depression publically claims that bisexuality and pedophilia are the same thing, then there is something seriously wrong with the world.
He needs to resign. And forget about being Mayor. Give John So the job for life.
I just read and adored E Lockhart's The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks, so much so that I have stolen this meme from E's blog in the hope that some of her genius will rub off on me.
1. Do you like blue cheese?
Oh, yes. Especially mixed in with mac and cheese, a tin of tuna, some fried onion and some frozen peas. Nommy.
2. Have you ever smoked?
Not in the sense that would have made me a smoker. I have tried it. Didn't like it. Stinky.
3. Do you own a gun?
No. Can you tell this meme originated in the US?
4. What flavor Kool Aid was your favorite?
Also a US question. We don't has a Kool Aid in the Land of Oz. But a quick trip to Wikipedia has informed me that it was originally called "Fruit Smack", which seems somehow appropriate given the whole Jonestown thing. Having said that, further Wikipediaing has revealed that the Jim Jones mass suicide thing was actually Flavor Aid, not Kool Aid.
5. Do you get nervous before doctor appointments?
Nope. Nor dentist. Going to the dentist is kind of like paying a nice man $200 to tell you how perfect you are. Worth every penny.
6. What do you think of hot dogs?
I confess I don't spend a lot of time thinking about hot dogs. But I do like a good sausage-in-bread.
7. Favorite Christmas movie?
The Muppet Christmas Carol
8. What do you prefer to drink in the morning?
Black English Breakfast tea.
9. Can you do push ups?
Yes. Will I? Absolutely not.
10. What's your favorite piece of jewelry?
A brass locket shaped like a book with a page of Through the Looking Glass inside.
11. Favorite hobby?
Reading. Closely followed by television, procrastination, crochet and sass.
12. Do you have A.D.D.?
It doesn't appear so.
13. Do you wear glasses/contacts?
Glasses for reading and other close work.
14. Middle name?
15. Name 3 thoughts at this exact moment?
My finger hurts. It's very cold today. Is it Sunday-nap-time?
16. Name 3 drinks you regularly drink?
Water. Tea. Red wine.
17. Current worry?
The Inkys/my latest novel/global warming
18. Current hate right now?
a) People who use "learning" as a noun, ie. "I think the potential for learnings are high"
I dragged my fractured foot and me to my parents' place by the beach and sweltered.
21. Where would you like to go?
The North Fitzroy Star for a cosy dinner with my favourite peeps. I am lucky.
22. Name three people who will complete this?
You, you, and you, over there, up the back.
23. Do you own slippers?
Am wearing Ugg Boots right now. They make my feet happy.
24. What shirt are you wearing?
A pink cashmere jumper purchased at UNIQLO New York.
25. Do you like sleeping on satin sheets?
No. Sticky. But my new sheets are some kind of Palestinian uber-cotton that is so soft it could be satin.
26. Can you whistle?
Yes, to Figgy's delight.
27. Favorite color?
Depends what for. Clothes? I'm wearing a lot of blue. Crockery? White. Lipstick? I have a peachy one I'm very fond of. Wine? Always red.
28. Would you be a pirate?
Not the peg-legged, scurvy, aaarrrgggh kind of pirate. But it is possible that I have, in the past, engaged in activities that might legally make me a pirate. I may do those things again. Maybe. Officer.
29. What songs do you sing in the shower?
Usually whatever my iPod alarm woke me up with. This morning it was What Is This Feeling from Wicked.
30. Favorite Girl's Name?
I'm not great with girl's names. I like Ingrid. And Evelyn.
31. Favorite boy's name?
I rather ironically have a thing for Biblical boy's names. Caleb, Elias, Gabriel, Gideon, Isaac, Micah, Reuben. And I also like Finnegan and Finbar.
32. What's in your pocket right now?
Nothing. Girls and pockets don't mix.
33. Last thing that made you laugh?
Looking at the stupid photos we took last night at the pub, which were "stills" from dreadful telemovies. You know, like the one where the heiress left all her money to the pool-boy who then murdered her but her seven-year-old nephew witnessed the whole thing and dropped his salamander? Or the one with the bulimic figure-skater? Or the girl who got sent to prison after murdering her parents and then got abused by her warden?
34. What vehicle do you drive?
I own a dark green Suzuki hatchbacky thing. But I don't drive it very often.
35. Worst injury you've ever had?
Dad and I had a bike accident when I was 4 that involved a really steep hill and a gravel pit, and resulted in the breaking of Dad's collarbone and 7 stitches in my forehead. Wanna see my scar?
36. Do you love where you live?
Yes. My house, my suburb, my city, my country. Sometimes I don't necessarily love all the other people who share it with me, but that's why I'm currently living alone.
37. How many TVs do you have in your house?
One. I am morally opposed to TV in bedrooms. Except when the Olympics are on, then it's allowed.
I have this idea that I'm not sure I agree with, but I'm going to talk about it anyway, because that's just how I roll, y'all.
People are getting knickers twisted because of the current slew of YA books that mention brand names. You know, the seven squillion Gossip Girl* clones out there. Where all the kiddies are wearing Burberry and Manolos and whatever else is fashionable right now. And now companies are paying publishers for in-book product placement. So poor Katie H Protagonist is now slapping on Maybelline WetShine Diamonds in Raunchy Red.
And the knicker twisted ones (whose side I am almost completely on, btw) are saying: "how TERRIBLE that companies are using BOOKS to peddle their wares! BOOKS the LAST TRUE BASTION OF CULTURE etc etc.
So my devil's advocate position is this:
Companies are going to advertise their products to teenagers no matter what we do, or say. Nothing will stop that. So wouldn't you rather a Young Person was getting a healthy dose of Reading along with their advertising? Instead of just on a TV commercial or billboard somewhere?
I suppose it depends on what the choice is. If the choice is: Books With Product Placement or Books Without Product Placement, I choose the latter. But if the choice is Advertising With Character Development And Narrative or Advertising On Irritating TV Commercials, I'll take my ads in books.
Does that make sense?
I also wouldn't want it to go too far the other way. In my latest book, I mention Two Minute Noodles, Mars Bars, MySpace, Google and Care Bears. The story wouldn't have felt as real if I'd not been able to use those things. Nothing pulls a reader out of a narrative like the mention of Three Minute Rice, Jupiter Bars, MyArea, Croogle and Solicitude Bears. Of course Google and the Care Bears didn't pay me anything to mention their products. So I suppose that's different.
You see what I'm saying?
I still haven't convinced myself. But I'm getting there. ___________ *Speaking of Gossip Girl, have you seen the racy new promos? SOLID GOLD.
So it's a year since Harry Potter mania peaked and then disappeared. We all got over it. We read the epilogue and said "ORLY, JK? Albus Severus? For cereal?". And now a year on most of us look back on those years with a slight nostalgic confusion - what were we thinking?
I am more obsessed with Harry Potter than I ever was when HP mania was around. I'm sure you all remember my snarky comments about plotholes and adverbs. I read the books, I enjoyed the books, then I enjoyed criticising the books. It was my Thing.
Scary in the way that 1984 is but times a million, because 1984 is about a future that never happened, but Little Brother is about right now.
Basically, it's about what happens after a terrorist attack in San Francisco. Marcus, a relatively normal 17 year old with a penchant for minor hackery, gets arrested by the Department of Homeland Security for being found near the attack site without a good excuse. He is taken to a secret offshore prison, tortured, and then forced to sign a document stating that he was held voluntarily.
Outside, the DHS is taking over. Civil liberties are being stripped from citizens who happily allow it because it's making them safer. A general air of terror and paranoia lies over everything. And Marcus can't help wondering - who are the real terrorists, here?
It's an extraordinary novel that every teenager should read. Every adult should read it too, but it's young people who really need to read it. I think it'll really speak to the new generation of technology and news-savvy kids who are growing up in a world where fear and secrecy are considered to be the same thing as security*.
The world is a scary place, and it's easy to believe that there's nothing you can do - especially if you belong to one of the most politically disenfranchised groups of people in the world - young people. Hopefully Little Brother will encourage them to take a little turf back.
You can buy the book here, or download the whole thing for free in just about any format you can imagine here.
A while ago, Justine blogged about words she can never remember the name of. Talking about it with some friends, we discovered that nobody knows what 'erstwhile' means. Nobody. I certainly didn't. Some of the suggestions were:
I've been re-reading a lot of Diana Wynne Jones lately. She was an author I adored as a child/teen, and I still adore her today. In fact I think I adore her more, as her books seem to get better every time I read them and unpick another thread. I read Fire and Hemlock once a year, and every time I discover something new.
But it's been making me think of some of the other books I devoured and worshipped as a child. And I must say my reading choices were not always as inspired. Here's my top three books on Lili's Adolescent Bookshelf of Shame:
1. The Clan of the Cave Bear (and sequels)
Yeah, you can say that you're reading it for the Realistic Prehistorical Blah Blah, but let's face it. We read it for the sex. For the throbbing members and Pleasures (particularly in later volumes) and the rest of the rather limber and creative lovemaking that those wacky cavemen got up to. Also, are we really supposed to believe that one girl invented the needle, the spear-thrower, the bra, firestarters, surgical stitches, domestication of animals (including horseback riding), and was the first person to figure out that sex = babies? For serious?
2. The Mists of Avalon
This came in the very deepest part of my crushed velvet, crystals, Loreena McKennit-loving phase. I loved it. Celtic jiggery-whatsit. Strong feminist themes. Mythology. Except, on revisiting it as an adult, I realised that the so-called Strong Women are in fact, weak, indecisive, antagonistic, manipulated and manipulative, and all seemed to be completely obsessed with Lancelot, whose barely-sketched character was just the wet, empty husk of an underwear model. (although, Arthur/Lancelot/Gwenhwyfar threesome? hot.)
3. Everything by David Eddings
This was my real obsession. I read those books over and over. I eagerly awaited the next one, and shelled out all my hard-earned pocket money for a shiny hardcover big enough to beat someone to death with. Oh, Garion. A pig-keeper with a secret destiny. A fiery-tempered redheaded princess. I WONDER IF THEY WILL GET MARRIED. Meh. And don't get me started on the racism. OH the racism. The western world is ruled by a tiny tiny island up in the top left hand corner of the map where it rains a lot. My, how very much the Chereks are like Vikings. What nice, loyal people they all are. Like those nice French Mimbrates, so noble.
But wait! What happens when we move further east? Snake-worshipping poison-loving jungle-dwelling eunuchs, that's what.
Oh-ho, and now what? Further east? Self scarification? Worshipping evil gods? Ritual sacrifice? We'd better KILL THEM ALL gently encourage them to become more like us! Because we're better! Hurrah!
What about you? What once-loved books now make you cringe?